Helping the Homeless

Helping the homeless
Victoria house
housing support service

CHA’s track record in Housing Support centres on the services provided by our Victoria House Homeless Persons Facility which has been operational since April 2000 and provides short stay temporary accommodation for homeless people in North Ayrshire. Each year since opening the facility accommodates an average of 350 homeless households and caters for a diverse client group of all ages ranging from families, young singles and the elderly.

The facility was purpose built by the Association and opened in April 2000; the facility has 27 rooms and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

There is a professional and qualified team of staff and a small bank staff team providing the services within Victoria House. All of the staff team members are registered and meet the requirements of registration with the Scottish Social Services Council. (SSSC)

The main presenting issues relate to households no longer willing to accommodate, mental health, fleeing violence, hospital discharges, challenging behaviour issues and addiction issues. Residents within the facility have their own en suite room and share the communal facilities, which include kitchen areas, laundry and a TV lounge.

The ethos of Victoria House is to provide housing support to residents whilst promoting independent living.

Detailed below are the types of housing support provided within Victoria House:

  • Offer Housing Information & Advice
  • Access and refer to local GP and Dental services;
  • Access furniture schemes;
  • Access further education classes and employment through external agencies;
  • Access and provide in house social activities;
  • Access Welfare Benefits advice and help with form filling;
  • Assist residents to make appointments and prompt them to attend;
  • Assist to develop budgeting skills;
  • Assist to develop life skills;
  • Assist with the transition from temporary to permanent accommodation;
  • Attend reviews and planning meetings;
  • Liaise with multi disciplinary agencies to access necessary support;
  • Liaise with the North Ayrshire Council’s Homelessness Service;
  • Liaise with the North Ayrshire Council’s Local Housing Offices;
  • Offer emotional support;
  • Positively engage in the hospital discharge protocol;
  • Promote independent living;
  • Provide advocacy services;
  • Provide a safe and secure environment

The Facility has built up excellent working relationships with a wide network of support agencies, including, Housing Services, Social Care Partnership, Education, Local Colleges, NHS Services, Counselling Services, Addiction Services, DWP, Community Mental Health Team and Third Sector Organisations.

How to access our Housing Support Service

To access the housing support service the first point of contact is via North Ayrshire Council’s Housing Services as all referrals to use the accommodation require coming direct from the Local Authority.

If you are homeless, or are likely to become homeless within 56 days, you should first contact North Ayrshire Council’s, Housing Advice Team based at:

Galt House

31 Bank Street, Irvine, KA12 0LL.

An appointment can be arranged by telephoning 01294 314600. They also operate a drop in service for individuals who require emergency temporary accommodation. Please note that this is on a first come, first served basis and you may need to wait to be seen.

Regulation and inspection

The Care Inspectorate carried out an unannounced inspeciton of our Housing Support Services on Thursday 1st March 2018 and based on their findings the service was awareded the following grades:

Quality of Care and Support – Grade 5 – Very Good

Quality of Staffing – Grade 5 – Very Good

The inspecting officer confirmed also there were also no Requirements or Recommendations for the service and gave the following summary feedback:

The service offers a well-maintained and well-staffed resource to people who are experiencing homelessness in the North Ayrshire area. The premises were clean and comfortable, providing a friendly and secure environment for the people who lived there. Staff were clearly committed to their jobs and well-trained in areas relevant to the people they supported.

The service provides for a large turnover of people staying for a few days or weeks. An important feature of the service is its ability to facilitate quick access to NHS services and welfare rights. Initial assessments and regular reviews identified any issues for people using the service.

Cunninghame Housing Association had a number processes for involving people in the assessment and improvement of the quality of the service including questionnaires, service users’ meetings, individual meetings and reviews. We saw a high level of satisfaction indicated in the provider’s customer satisfaction surveys. This reflected the feedback we received during our conversations with people using the service and the quality assurance questionnaires issued and returned to the Care Inspectorate prior to our inspection.

People using the service had in place well-considered and person centred support plans which were supported by individual risk assessments. Effective communication systems were in place with support staff being kept updated about people’s needs.

The recruitment process for staff included the taking up of references and checks with the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme.

Staff spoken with appeared caring, knowledgeable and motivated and knew people’s support needs well. Staff had the opportunity to undertake training to assist them in their work with people relating to health and wellbeing such as dealing with substance misuse and homelessness and in adult support and protection.

When we spoke with tenants they confirmed that they felt they were consulted about their

Housing support needs. They also said they would be listened to if they raised any issues or suggestions about the service. They described to us how the service had improved their situation, demonstrating good outcomes for people using the service.

Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers

Victoria House Housing Support service was also subject to an audit on the 19th February 2018 for reaccreditation as defined in the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: A Quality Assurance Framework 2009. This was also successfully achieved. The extract below indicates the range of services for which the National Standards have been achieved.

Victoria House Contact Details:

Victoria House, 6 Boyle Street, Irvine, KA12 8PG

Tel: 01294 607541

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